Derrick Rose went on an epic rant after the Cleveland loss, Thibodeau canceled practice yesterday, and the Bulls look like a Cleveland size mess internally right now.
I asked just five days ago if the Bulls were starting to tune out Tom Thibodeau. The answer, so far, appears to be yes.
Thibodeau was demanding buyin from the players just over a week ago when he whipped out the circle metaphor after a bad loss to Orlando.
"Either you're in the circle or you're out of the circle," a fired-up Thibodeau said after the Bulls' defensive collapse to the Magic on Monday night. "You want to be in? Let's go. You don't want to be in? That's fine too. Let's go."
And if you ever wondered why Kirk Hinrich plays? For whatever mistakes he makes, for whatever lack of ability he has, he's standing in the middle of that damn circle as far away from the edge as possible. In a season where buy in seems to be an issue, Thibs is leaning on whomever buys in.
He now suggests that he'll look at everything, including rotational changes:
"We have to find some continuity," Thibodeau said Monday. "Maybe we look at different people. I'm going to think about it."
The Bulls canceled practice wouldn't be such a big story except that Pau Gasol publicly stated how much the players were looking forward to a day off, and Thibodeau wanted to go back to the stick (work harder) after getting trounced by Cleveland.
The players either overrode him internally and canceled practice on their own, or Thibodeau recognized he was about to lose the players and decided to lighten up. Either way, it's hard to imagine a day off is he feels internally what the team needs right now.
Either way, this is potentially the most talented Bulls team we've seen since the Jordan era. It's not a good time to decide to tune out the coach because you're sick of working hard. This is championship time, not loser time, and right now, the Bulls players look like a group of losers.
Rose delivers epic rant
Derrick Rose becomes the second Bull to deliver an epic rant about the Bulls lousy play.
"Everybody has to be on the same page," Rose said. "Until then, we're going to continue to get our ass kicked."
"It's just the whole team," he said.
"I think communication is huge," Rose said. "We're quiet when we're out there, and it's leading to them getting easy baskets. We got to give a better effort. It seems like we're not even competing, and it's f---ing irritating."
"We're midway through the season," Rose said. "That should be a part of [the discussion]. There's no excuses. My biggest thing is competing. Playing this game for so long, when you don't have that edge, we're going to keep getting our ass whupped."
Derrick should look in the mirror first. He's reportedly skipping defensive practice drills because of his knees, jacking up massive amounts of threes every game, and putting forth some of the worst defensive effort on the team.
Pau Gasol, perhaps the Bulls worst defender, went on a similar rant about a month back after a bad loss. Discussing defensive effort and getting on the same page.
Both of these rants remind me of Andres Nocioni and Luol Deng ranting about the team not sharing the ball enough while having the lowest assist rates of any rotation player. It appears what they're really saying is people aren't passing me the ball enough.
Well these two guys are saying other guys aren't covering up for my low effort and lack of defense nearly enough, because they're probably the two biggest culprits in the lack of effort/defense category.
It's great that both guys stepped up and called the team out. As leaders they need to do that. However, what they also need to do is lead by example. You can call everyone out for their poor play, but you'd better bring it. You'd better not be sitting out practice drills. You'd better not be the one begging for a day off.
There's obviously a growing rift in the locker room. Any rift starts with your top talent, when they buy in then everyone else will follow. Time for Derrick and Pau to practice what they preach.
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